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  1. #1
    Helped Wanted Guest

    Need advice on 2nd conditional, thanks teachers ^o^

    Can I say:

    If I were a rich lady, I would have donated half of my money to the poor.

    The rule is:
    If I were....I would....


    Why can't I use, " If I were.., I would have...."

    Would any teachers explain on it?

    Thanks sooooooooo much, teachers ^o^

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    'I would donate' refers to present or future time.
    'I would have donated' refers to past time.

    If I were rich, I would donate some money. (= I am not rich and I won't donate any money)

    If I'd been rich, I would have donated some money. (= at that time in the past I wasn't rich, so I didn't donate any money.)

    Does that help?

  3. #3
    Helped Wanted Guest
    Thanks sooooo much, teacher Tdol! ^o^

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Need advice on 2nd conditional, thanks teachers ^o^

    Quote Originally Posted by Helped Wanted
    Can I say:

    If I were a rich lady, I would have donated half of my money to the poor.

    The rule is:
    If I were....I would....


    Why can't I use, " If I were.., I would have...."

    Would any teachers explain on it?

    Thanks sooooooooo much, teachers ^o^
    I agree with TDOL's answer. With conditional sentences, the general rule is that the tense in the "if" clause is one tense earlier than the tense in the result clause. There are exceptions to this -- called mixed conditionals, but most conditionals follow the rule.

    1st conditional: If I [present tense], (then) I [future tense - will + verb].
    2nd conditional: If I [past tense], (then) I [present conditional - would + verb].
    3rd conditional: If I [past perfect tense], (then) I [past conditional - would have + past participle].

    This split in time is logical because the condition must be fulfilled before the result can occur.

    I hope this helps. :wink:

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    That's an interesting way of looking at the tenses, Mike. From a two-tense perspective,the two sides are seen as being the same.

  6. #6
    Helped Wanted Guest
    Many many thanks to both teacher Mike New York and teacher Tdol again..^o^

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